|All hail the OG Kinvara!|
Unless you are a runner who follows in the barefoot steps of Abebe Bikila, chances are that you’ve put some time into selecting, using and eventually discarding your running shoes. In the ten years since running became an important part of my lifestyle, I’ve probably owned over 30 pairs of trainers. I still have a lot of them, but quite a few have been donated or trashed due to their condition. I have one pair that I no longer use, but will never give up. Yes, I’m talking to you, original Kinvara.
Now that I no longer spend 2-3 hours a day commuting, I have more time to focus on the details of life. Upping my running from three to six days a week has caused me to pay more attention to my gear. More running means more running clothes and I’m planning to go through my sizable collection of running shirts to see what to keep or donate. Today I took on the easier task of addressing the assemblage of running shoes in my gear cabinet and you can see the results further below.
Over the years I’ve owned just about every major brand of running shoe: ASICS, Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Saucony, Brooks, along with some less well known brands such as Karhu, Helly Hansen, Spira and Sketchers. Many of these shoes were sent to me by manufacturers when I was maintaining Emerging Runner’s sister site, Runner’s Tech Review. Some shoes were worn over 1,000 miles, but a couple of pairs were donated after only a few runs.
Right now, I have three categories of running shoes in my house: 1) regular rotation, 2) special conditions and 3) decommissioned. Category three is where I’ll be getting rid of some pairs. Going through my shoe collection has caused me to reflect on all my shoes and I thought I’d share those thoughts here.
I try to run in a different pair every day because I read that shoes need recovery time too. Happily, I have a lot to choose from.
|Responsive and comfortable|
If I ever race again, I’ll wear this pair. Low and energetic. They remind me of the Kinvara 5, but feel a little faster.
|Smooth and stable|
This shoe was a surprise gift from my daughter. They would be a great everyday trainer, similar to the Adrenaline, but lighter.
|If the Toyota Avalon was a shoe|
When my feet are sore and I have to run, this is my go-to pair.
|Light and energetic|
I stopped running in these for a couple of years because of heel wear, but now they’re back in the rotation. Not quite as peppy as the Zantes, but they are running royalty nonetheless.
These are the shoes I wear for trails, bad weather or indoor running. I keep two of these pairs in a separate storage area and was too lazy to go get them when I was photographing my upstairs collection.
|Subtle as a chainsaw|
This was a Runner’s Tech Review special. Turns out they are pretty decent shoes, but the gimmick (springs in the mid sole) is ineffective. I use them when I run on pavement in the rain. Good traction.
|Not a good choice for technical running|
Super lightweight and great for racing on hard packed dirt trails. No rock plate so they can be punishing on sharp stones and roots.
Handles mud, rocks, scree and steep inclines like a Range Rover. Surprisingly runnable on pavement.
|700+ miles on the treadmill|
This was originally my primary 10K and half marathon shoe. I switched them to treadmill duty when I got the 5s. They still look brand new.
|Alternative treadmill runners|
These shoes were incredibly awkward on the road and only slightly better for track intervals. Stiffness lessened with use and they are now a decent treadmill and elliptical shoe.
An interesting assortment of the good, the weird and the ugly. Sadly, the shoes with this little guy at the end of the description (🏃) will be recycled because they are no longer runnable.
|Minimal and cushy|
I really liked these shoes because they were super light and near zero drop from heel to toe. I wore them out quickly because the out sole is primarily blown EVA. Tried them on to see if they were still runnable, but alas, they are done. 🏃
|Commonly asked at races: WTF are those?|
Brooks sent me these as part of a wear testing program. Liked them a lot but wished I’d asked for a half size larger shoe. I thought they were as minimal as a shoe could get and then Saucony sent me the Hattoris. 🏃
|Weird but awesome|
This is basically a pool shoe with better materials. No cushioning at all, no laces either. Ran a few PRs with them and used them as my daily trainers until I completely wore them out. 🏃
I have never loved a running shoe as much as these original Kinvaras. I wore them out to the point where I risked knee issues running in them for more than four miles. Tried them on yesterday for the first time in seven years and they still feel perfect on my foot. No more running in them but they’re staying in my collection.